Wedgwood residents have expressed a desire for a safer, more walkable 35th Ave NE through the Wedgwood Vision Plan, several community meetings, and comments on our website. Last year, the Wedgwood community identified pedestrian improvements and traffic/transit improvements as your #3 and #5 priority. The WCC has been working to identify specific projects and has been supportive of a community-driven planning effort looking at the future of 35th Ave NE. In 2013, SDOT has 2 projects planned for 35th Ave NE that are intended to improve pedestrian safety and traffic flow through 35th Ave NE.
New Turning Lanes at 35th Ave NE/NE 75th Street
In 2011, SDOT completed a signal revision on east/west bound lanes at the intersection of 35th Ave NE and NE 75th Street. They installed new signals and pocket turn lanes along NE 75th Street. In 2013, they plan on completing a similar signal revision along 35th Ave NE for north/south bound lanes. This revision should help to alleviate the wait time for cars travelling north/south who get stuck waiting behind left turning vehicles and improve traffic flow through that intersection. No date for construction has been set for these improvements as of yet.
New Crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street
In 2011, the WCC submitted a Neighborhood Street Fund grant application to install a crosswalk at 35th Ave NE and NE 80th Street. (Many thanks to WCC Trustee, Gretchen Bear, for championing this project!) The WCC had submitted grant applications for similar crosswalk proposals at the same intersection for numerous years, but the project had been denied funding for various reasons. This time, however, we submitted an application for a simple crosswalk design (no overhead lights) which was recommended by SDOT to the City Council for funding in late 2012. As part of the City’s budget approval, the Council agreed with SDOT and included our crosswalk for funding. It’s our understanding, as part of the crosswalk installation, SDOT will be making some changes to the parking restrictions along part of 35th Ave NE as well to reduce traffic speeds and improve safety between NE 75th Street and NE 85th Street. We understanding that these improvements will be coming to 35th Ave NE sometime in the Spring of 2013.
Here’s to a safer 2013 for drivers and pedestrians alike along 35th Ave NE!
Katie Traverse, a WCC Trustee and the President of the Wedgwood Elementary PTA, has been on a mission for sveral years to bring vital pedestrian and safety improvements to several blocks around Wedgwood Elementary. There are no sidewalks around the elementary school or surrounding neighborhood. With more and more kids walking and biking to school commingled together in the street with large yellow school buses and passenger vehicles, it’s only a matter of time before something regrettable happens.
In 2011, she sponsored a Neighborhood Street Fund grant application to develop a design for pedestrian and safety improvements along 28th Avenue NE , NE 83rd Street, and NE 85th Street. The NE District Council (NEDC), which is a citizens group comprised of neighborhood representatives throughout NE Seattle and who is responsible for pre-ranking Neighborhood Matching Fund and Neighborhood Street Fund grant applications, ranked her application #1. Her project went on to be funded and SDOT has completed 60% design drawings for the improvements. However, funds for construction have not been secured.
With design in hand, Katie is now working with SDOT to locate funding for the “Complete the Street Project.” SDOT has submitted a Safe Routes to School grant application to the WSDOT, which has forwarded their recommendation for $439,000 on to the State legislature for approval. Katie submitted an application in December 2012 for a Neighborhood Street Fund grant to provide additional funding for project construction.
Last week, the NEDC reviewed and ranked numerous Neighborhood Street Fund applications submitting in December throughout NE Seattle. All of them well deserving and important to making NE Seattle a safer place. After their deliberations though, they ranked Katie’s Complete the Street Project #1. Given SDOT’s involvement with this project, we’re hopeful that they too will recommend the Complete the Street project for funding and new sidewalks and pedestrian improvements will be coming to Wedgwood Elementary School!
Last Monday (September 17th), the WCC’s Parks Committee submitted its final proposal under the Parks and Green Space Levy 2012/2013 Opportunity Fund. As we previously shared, the proposal would (if approved) construct a trail system through Inverness Ravine Park and undeveloped SDOT right-of-way. The Opportunity Fund has about $8 million available for park acquisition and development throughout the City. Those projects that can be funded must range from $250,000 – $750,000.
You might ask “Why does the WCC’s Parks Committee think this proposal is important?” Not only has part of Wedgwood already been identified within their GAP Analysis as deficient in open space, but currently accessible non-park open space may be impacted in the coming years. Not to mention that the Wedgwood Vision Plan specifically identifies the pursuit of “creat(ing) a creekside nature trail within the Wedgwood neighborhood” as an important goal. Furthermore, it is the WCC Park’s Committee’s belief that this new trail would provide a variety of benefits to NE Seattle more broadly through creating a connection between the Inverness/Inverness Park communities with Wedgwood; allow improved access to Matthews Beach Park, the Burke-Gilman Trail, and Magnuson Park; and providing outdoor learning opportunities and passive recreation for residents and nearby students among other important benefits.
Inside the Inverness Ravine Park, mature deciduous and coniferous trees tower above an understory of native and non-native flora with a stream flowing through.
For the purpose of providing a complete proposal and developing a cost estimate, the proposal included a conceptual trail alignment as shown in the sketch below. Based on our conceptual trail alignment, we’ve estimated that the project will cost just over $300,000. The conceptual trail alignment provides a great starting point, although should this project be awarded we understand that the Parks Department would initiate a public engagement process to modify the proposal as necessary to minimize impacts to surrounding neighbors and important ecological resources within the park.
Conceptual trail alignment developed for the Inverness Ravine Park Trail Project (click to enlarge).
It will take some time before we find out whether our proposal is successful. Then, it will take even more time for it to be approved by City Council. Then, it’ll take even more time for the Parks Department to get to design and construction of the project. So, our best case scenario is that we could have a trail system built by sometime in 2014. Nevertheless, we’re super excited. If you’d like more information on the Inverness Ravine Park Trail Project, you can review our final application (at least the text) that was submitted to the Parks Department. You can also read the letters of support written on behalf of the project from the Northeast District Council and Feet First.
On another note, we hope to have an update on the ongoing park acquisition at the former Morningside Substation soon. Stay tuned!
Thanks to the work of Sustainable NE Seattle members, North Seattle Friends Church, and funds from CleanScapes Waste Reduction Rewards program, NE Seattle will be welcoming the NE Seattle Tool Library to our area! As part of the CleanScapes 2010-2011 Waste Reduction Rewards program, the Tuesday North collection area (which includes a portion of Wedgwood) won $50,000 for a community project(s). The new NE Seattle Tool Library has been notified that they are 1 of potentially a couple projects that will receive funding through this grant.
According to the NE Seattle Tool Library blog, the President and CEO of CleanScapes, Chris Grant, wrote of the tool library, “What a great model showing that borrowing and sharing can reduce waste and strengthen a community. The Tool Library will benefit both the surrounding neighborhood as well as the region and we are proud to support this new community resource.”
The funds received through the grant will largely go to refurbishing an outbuilding adjacent to the North Seattle Friends Church to host the new tool library. The new tool library will be located at 2415 NE 80th St, near University Prep, Picardo P-Patch, and Dahl Field. Tool donations and advance annual memberships are currently being accepted. The tool library is expected to officially open in September. Tool donations can be made at this coming weekend’s Planet:HOME festival on Saturday, July 21st at the Hunter Farm Gathering Place.
In 2008, Seattle voters approved the Parks and Green Spaces Levy to improve the City’s parks and green spaces as well as acquire new parks for those communities identified as deficient in such places. North Wedgwood was one of those communities identified as in need of additional park space. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the community, the Parks Department is moving forward with the acquisition of Seattle City Light’s surplussed Morningside Substation at 35th Ave NE and NE 86th Street (where CC and Company is currently located).
However, within the Parks and Green Spaces Levy is the Opportunity Fund. This fund provides the opportunity for community groups to propose specific park development projects to be selected by an oversight group and the City Council to be completed. This round of funding allocates $15 million for such projects. With this in mind, the Wedgwood Parks Committee reflected back on the Vision Plan and has proposed the planning and design of a trail through Inverness Ravine.
Within Section “Open Spaces and Community Amenities” of the Vision Plan, it was stated that the community desired trails connecting a variety of park types. Of the different park types considered, 54.4% of the nearly 840 respondents to the Vision Plan survey said that a “natural park setting” was “very important” to them.
The Parks Department already owns several parcels along Inverness Ravine, although due in part to the property’s steep slopes, mature vegetation, and other complications, this property is very inaccessible. The proposed trail would be approximately 2,000 feet long, have 4 access points, and have passive recreation features (e.g., benches and signage). Benefits of this trail, apart from creating more usable park space in an area of the City identified as deficient in park space, include the following:
- Connect the Wedgwood and Inverness neighborhoods.
- Provide a more accessible pedestrian access from Wedgwood to the Burke-Gilman Trail and Matthews Beach.
- Provide the opportunity for walkable, day-time expeditions to a tributary of Thornton Creek for students at nearby schools.
- And promotes environmental awareness of Thornton Creek and its ecosystem.
Proposals to the Opportunity Fund were due last week. The Wedgwood Parks Committee has already learned that our proposal has made it past their initial screening. Further development of this proposal is necessary before it could be reviewed by the Parks Department, oversight committee, and Seattle City Council. However, its important for us to let our community know about this proposal and our continued effort to carry out what the community has identified as important by way of the Vision Plan.
If you have any questions about the proposal, please email » Dave Grant, Chair of the Wedgwood Parks Committee.
UPDATE: You can see all of the Small & Simple grant winners from this last round of funding HERE. The WCC grant value is actually $13,431.
Good news on the Emergency Preparedness front. The Wedgwood Community Council has received a $13,000 grant from the City of Seattle’s Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) to help prepare Wedgwood and surrounding neighborhoods for major emergencies. Over the next 12 months, there will be a variety of events and trainings in our community focused on this.
The city of Seattle recognizes four levels of preparedness:
• Individual preparedness: Every person and family is encouraged to have stored at least 3 days (7 days is better!) of water, food and emergency supplies.
• Block-level preparedness: Neighbors are encouraged to meet and are prepared to work together and help each other in an emergency.
• Neighborhood Preparedness: Community groups should each have a plan that is publicized and practiced, through which the community can assist with dealing with more major issues.
• City Response: The city continues to plan for each type of disaster and how they will support all of us.
The Wedgwood Community Council, in conjunction with Sustainable NE Seattle and other community groups, will be using the grant funds to encourage preparations for individual, block-level and neighborhood preparedness.
Many of you have expressed the need for block-wide organization, both for preparedness and security, so we’re starting there. On March 15th, the WCC and Sustainable NE Seattle are hosting a training on how to “Map your Neighborhood” at Wedgwood Presbyterian Church. Details will be available soon, so stay tuned!
“Wedgwood Team to Wedgwood Hub. This is a drill. I am reporting a gas leak at the corner of….”
“View Ridge Team to Wedgwood Hub. This is a drill. I am reporting a power line down….”
“Maple Leaf Team to Wedgwood Hub. This is a drill. We have a car stuck snowbound with three occupants suffering from hypothermia. Requesting support.”
The airwaves were busy on Saturday morning (October 29th), as the first-ever test of Wedgwood Emergency Communications was put into action. More than 75 people attended the event, which was part of a city-wide emergency communications test. Participants came from all over NE Seattle, including Maple Leaf, View Ridge, Meadowbrook, Hawthorne Hills, Ravenna/Bryant, even Pinehurst, Fremont and Montlake. They all helped out with the given scenario – that we were in the third day of a severe winter storm. Low priority issues, such as people out of food or water, were reported in and dealt with locally. High priority items, such as fire, utility issues, or lives-at-risk, each of which requiring action by the city, were reported via radio to Seattle’s Emergency Operations Center downtown.
The drill was fun, and was special in many ways. It was one of the first major events at the Hunter Gathering Place, as the Hunter Tree Farm site is now considered. Through an agreement with the Hunter family, organization from Pomegranate Center, funding from Tully’s Coffee, and lots of community effort, the site was transformed over the summer from an empty lot to a usable gathering place that is open for community events.
This drill also marked the official recognition of the Wedgwood Hub by the City of Seattle, which means that we will get a fair amount of help and support by the city going forward. The hub is a structure to house radio communications in the event of a community-wide disaster, and it functioned great in its inaugural drill. (Note: No radio equipment is actually stored in the HUB.)
Success of the drill was due to the huge variety of participation that we saw. We had many volunteers from Wedgwood, as well as people from more than 15 of our neighboring communities! In addition, a gang of amateur radio operators descended from as far away as Bothell, and we had as a speaker a fire fighter from Kent. We had dignitaries from Seattle’s Office of Emergency Management , and our fantastic North Precinct Crime Prevention Officer, Terri Johnston, on hand as well. We kept warm with coffee donated by Café Van Gogh (thanks Janet!) and bagels from Noah’s bagels. This was a true community effort!
Thanks to everyone who participated. A special thanks goes to Theresa Edwards, who coordinated the drill itself. Additional thanks go to the team behind the $13,500 Neighborhood Matching Fund grant proposal submitted earlier in October, which, if funded, will provide additional education, awareness and training, all focused around increasing community resiliency in the event of emergencies of any kind. We’ll find out in December if we get that grant or not. Funded or not, we will continue to have community events around emergency preparation.
As always, we remind you: There are no local stockpiles of emergency supplies. Each of us is responsible for putting aside enough for ourselves and our families. The minimum is to have at least a 3-day supply of water – many recommend at least a 7-day supply. In the event of an emergency, first check on yourself and your family. Then check in on your neighbors and make sure everyone is okay. Then compile a list of what you need and what you have to offer, and send someone to the Wedgwood Hub with that list.
Lastly – if you did not participate in this drill, come to one of the next ones. It is fun and will ensure that a real emergency goes a lot more smoothly.